Sunday, 4 April 2010

Attic Archive in Conversation

ast Thursday I went to go see the Attic Archive in conversation there was loads of free tea and fake Jammie dodgers that tasted just like the real thing (I should really stop snubbing value brands) and it was all very interesting.

An interesting mix of people who were associated with the data collection, however, they seemed to be completely stuck in the 80's, they seemed to be stuck on the art form of Mail Art which I quite agree as an avid sender of stuff/post cards is a lovely romantic and spontaneous art form. But the whole Mail Art scene was only a minor part of everything that went on with the Attic Archive and I would have preferred to have heard more about time spent in the Scottish landscape, the collection of information on outsider art, the journalism articles and all the other stuff involved with the Archive.

Also the conversation started of all quite upbeat with the anonymous "ADMINISTRATOR" of the Archive arriving in with a paper bag (which was from a Mail Art artist) on his head with a huge black jacket on adorned with badges and memorabilia, handing us little data packages of our own. Also Jonathan Baxter the artist who has been taking us to the archive over the past couple of weeks was doing a wee performance of his own which seemed to involve tights over his head stuffed with grass with teats on the foot of the tights. All very surreal but I was down with it.

However, the administrator then took of his Mail Art paper bag mask and within 10minutes the whole mystery of the Attic Archive was gone as the pretence of "who is the administrator, is the artist here..." etc. was gone because they clearly let us know that the "ADMINISTRATOR" was in actual fact the artist of many identities. Now I'm not completely naive so had thought at some stage in looking at the Archive that the "ADMINISTRATOR" was probably the artist but the novelty of the data collection sort of disappeared when its mystery disappeared.

They banged on far too long about Mail Art, though it was interesting to hear about the 80's a bit and Stewart Home, seemed an utterly monotonous legend (even gave us a free copy of one of his books). Nonetheless the whole Archive does feel stuck in the 80's and that is it's downfall, in that the only way it has been taken into the C21st is through the exhibition at DoJ and other than that it isn't really at all on anyone's radar. But then again it doesn't seem as though anyone has tried to do all together that much with it as in publicising or exhibiting, so why should it be on anyone's radar. The conversations tone changed within the first half hour from relatively upbeat to the "ADMINISTRATOR" just sounding completely jaded, kind of a turn off. All the students involved with visiting the Archive have been asked to keep a wee book about something internal/external from are lives on what is supposed to be a daily basis so I will definitely still be linked to the project in the coming months, so it will be interesting to see if any more interest is drummed up and if the Archive does have a future in Dundee.

In Conversation
(I took out most of the negativity)

Art - it is a Process of Giving
Custodians of Data/Objects that are not Ours
Auditing a Destructive Process
Cultural Renewal - happens through an Autonomy of a Collective
Creative Process - Process of Ageing
Data - only half the Content
Cultural Vacuum - through sharing so much Info
Archives - tend to only happen for the Famous - Why
J. Beuys - The "ADMINISTRATOR" - Aware but Suspicious,
not Engaged
Ownership - Mediated
The "ADMINISTRATOR" or Undertaker
Comprehending your Time/Place/Surroundings/Circumstance

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